BORIS Johnson will write a letter to the EU requesting an Article 50 delay if no deal is agreed by Saturday night, the UK Brexit Secretary has confirmed.

Speaking to the Exiting the European Union Committee of MPs, Stephen Barclay said the Prime Minister will comply with the Benn Act.

The legislation compels Johnson to ask for a three-month extension to the Article 50 negotiating period, to January 31, 2020, if MPs have not approved a Brexit deal – or explicitly authorised a No-Deal Brexit – by October 19.

The Prime Minister has insisted he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than stall Brexit.

But documents submitted to Scotland’s highest court, on behalf of the Tory leader, make clear he would not try to frustrate the Benn Act that mandates him to ask the EU to delay Brexit.

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Barclay was asked by committee chairman Hilary Benn if he could confirm if there is no agreement reached which is approved by Parliament on Saturday that by the end of the day the Prime Minister will write the letter he is required to send to the EU Commission requesting a Brexit extension.

"I can confirm, as the Prime Minister has repeatedly set out, that firstly the Government will comply with the law, and secondly it will comply with undertakings given to the court in respect of the law," he said.

The National: Brexit Secretary Stephen BarclayBrexit Secretary Stephen Barclay

Barclay added: "I confirm that the Government will abide by what it set out in that letter."

Asked if he knew why the Prime Minister "spent so long saying that he wouldn't", Barclay said: "Well we're committed to leaving, as you know Mr Benn, on the 31st of October. We think the best way of doing that is with a deal, to leave in a smooth and orderly way.

"That is why the team are, as we speak, involved in intensive negotiations to do that."

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If a deal is to be reached with the EU, it has to be done so before a summit of European leaders starting tomorrow.

The Brexit Secretary told MPs the Benn Act had been impeded negotiations in Brussels.

"I think it has been unhelpful to the negotiations, absolutely," said the Secretary of State.

"But I think what is recognised, both in the EU and the UK, that the time is now for a deal.

"The teams are working extremely hard to take that forward."